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4870 Kills Two Asus Motherboards

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#1
Hi, new poster here, I wanted to get feedback and advice on my situation. Basically, I installed a new 4870 on two motherboards and both are now completely disabled. I've never had an upgrade go so bad. Here are the details:

First system was a Asus Maximus Formula, Q6600, Corsair HX620 PSU, 2x2Gb of Corsair TWIN2X4096-6400C5 memory, evga stock 8800GT, Vista 64-bit. No overclocking or BIOS mods of the CPU, memory or 8800GT. The system has been working since Jan 2008 and been pretty flawless. I uninstalled the 8800GT and Nvidia drivers, put in the 4870, connected the two 6-pin connectors and turned on the system. The fan on the 4870 spins up but sputters, slows down, then spins up again, over and over. It never achieves a steady rotation. The system never posts or boots at all. Turn off the power, turn on again. Same result. Removed the 4870, reinstalled the 8800GT and turn on the system. System powers up for a second, then shuts down. A second later, powers up again, then shuts down. It's caught in this endless loop. No post or BIOS at all.

I reset CMOS, tried both the 4870 and 8800GT in the other PCI-E slot, tried another PSU (Silverstone 600watt), tried another processor, Q9450, removed one stick of memory. Every variation gives the same result: doesn't post, endless start-shutdown cycle.

Second system: Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe, Athlon 64 3500, Corsair HX620 PSU, 4x1gb of Corsair PC3200 XL 2-2-2-5 memory, Radeon 1900XT. Also no overclocking or BIOS mods of the CPU, memory or video card. This system also worked perfectly for an hour before I attempted to install the 4870. After installation of the 4870, same sputtering start of the 4870's fan and no post. Reinstalled the 1900XT and the fan on the 1900XT goes to high but unlike a regular boot, stays at high, it never spins down. The system, of course, also never posts or boots. Unlike the Maximus Formula, the board doesn't shutdown and restart automatically. It stays powered on but never posts. No hard drive activity in both systems.

Any idea what's going on? The only two common components between these two systems are the 4870 and the Corsair PSU. The Corsair is approved by ATI to operate a single 4870 and Corsair says it's capable of running two 4870's. The PSU has also operated flawless in the first system for six months and it operated perfectly for the hour I had the second system running with the 1900XT before I tried to install the 4870. I think the culprit in the 4870 but how could a 4870 screw up a motherboard so badly that it no longer functions even with an older card? Anyone seen or heard of similar experiences?
 
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#2
do you live near a static electricity plant? I know its unlikely, but maybe you zapped something accidentally.
 
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#3
No, just a regular apt in Manhattan, NYC. I've installed, uninstalled and reinstalled different components countless times in the same spot using the same procedures in the same case. Never had anything even close to this happen.

I mean, at this stage, I'm pretty sure I have a defective 4870 card. What I'm trying to understand is how a bad card could have screwed up a board so badly that it completely disabled, so much so that no longer works even with the older video cards. I'm just baffled at how a bad 4870 could wreck so much havoc.

I posted about this on Anandtech's motherboard forum and someone responded that he had heard this exact same problem happening with the Asus Rampage Formula boards but he didn't post any links to threads. I ask him to but so far, no response. I'm hoping maybe someone who has had this bad experience will see this on these boards.
 

erocker

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#4
Did you get any messages on the LCD poster for the Maximus? Man, this is a wierd problem. It sounds like the 4870 is somehow messing with the bios chip on the motherboard! I know the Maximus doesn't have one but I forget, does the A8N have a removable bios chip?
 
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#5
Hi erocker,

The LCD poster for the Maximus Formula says "CPU INIT" and never changes. I'm guessing the POST process never gets far enough for the poster to read anything else. As you wrote, the Maximus Formula doesn't have a user-replaceable BIOS so I have to RMA it, which I'm in the process of doing. The A8N does have a replaceable chip, which I've actually had to replace once before b/c of a bad BIOS update. So you think my BIOS chips got screwed up somehow, meaning getting a new BIOS chip for the A8N will restore it? I talked to a Corsair tech and he suggested the 4870 was damaging the PCI-Express slot. He suggested I install an old regular PCI video card to test it. Honestly, I don't see how the PCI-E slot could get damaged that way. Plus, even if the PCI-E slot that I installed the 4870 got damaged, why would the other PCI-E slot get disabled too? Installing the old video cards in either slots doesn't boot up for both boards.

Both boards used the BIOS version that came with it. I've never upgraded either because I never had trouble with it and figured why fix something that's not broken. I did try to upgrade the BIOS on the A8N once but it went wrong and basically never tried to upgrade it again after I got a replacement BIOS chip (another reason I don't want to upgrade the BIOS on the A8N board is b/c that was a Falcon NW system and the system restore DVD that came with the system is locked into the original BIOS version).
 
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#6
Hi erocker,

The LCD poster for the Maximus Formula says "CPU INIT" and never changes. I'm guessing the POST process never gets far enough for the poster to read anything else. As you wrote, the Maximus Formula doesn't have a user-replaceable BIOS so I have to RMA it, which I'm in the process of doing. The A8N does have a replaceable chip, which I've actually had to replace once before b/c of a bad BIOS update. So you think my BIOS chips got screwed up somehow, meaning getting a new BIOS chip for the A8N will restore it?

Both boards used the BIOS version that came with it. I've never upgraded either because I never had trouble with it and figured why fix something that's not broken. I did try to upgrade the BIOS on the A8N once but it went wrong and basically never tried to upgrade it again after I got a replacement BIOS chip (another reason I don't want to upgrade the BIOS on the A8N board is b/c that was a Falcon NW system and the system restore DVD that came with the system is locked into the original BIOS version).

It your card both myself and erocker have maximus/ rampage board and 4870 and they work fine.
 

erocker

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#7
I feel your anxiety with flashing bios chips, though it's always a good idea to use the latest and most stable. I'm to positive it's the bios, but stalling at cpu_init is a good sign that it is. So yeah, it's worth a shot at keeping the A8N going! I suppose I would RMA the card too, since this has done this to two different boards with different chipsets. If you end up getting a Rampage in return for the Maximus, the 308 or 406 bios' work great. I'm using the 308's, and it's the bios that came with my board.
 
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#8
erocker and trt740,

Thanks for your feedbacks. I'm glad to hear you think it's a BIOS issue b/c I do want to hang onto the old A8N board for backup. I'll contact Asus to get a replacement BIOS. I've RMA'ed the 4870 back to Newegg and am RMA'ing the Maximus Formula. Asus will advance ship a replacement board to me so I assume that I'll get another Maximus Formula instead of the current Rampage Formula, which is fine by me b/c until now, the X38 board has been flawless. I'm glad to know that the 4870/Maximus/Ramage combo works for others because frankly, I'm kinda scared of ordering a replacement 4870 and seeing it fry another board. I think I'll try a new 4870 with the A8N board first, assuming a new BIOS chip restores the board. If it fries the A8N board again, it's far easier to order a new BIOS chip than it is to RMA a whole board.
 

erocker

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#9
If you're getting the bios chip from Asus for free, do that. If not you can get bhips with the latest bios on them from www.biosman.com. Good luck!:toast:
 
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#10
This may come in handy
 
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#11
Make that 4 Asus motherboards

ddarko,

Ya, I've killed 2 Asus P5E3 boards with a Diamond 4870X2 from tigerdirect. I replaced the MOBO and video card with another MOBO and video card (same models, replacements) and zapped another board. I am about to try again. I am going with a different board this time. This is F-ed! :banghead: My experience is that this occurs only when trying to use two monitors. As soon as I connect the second monitor and restart, no bios post! I don't even get lights for the keyboard and mouse--Totally fried. Weak!


Edit:
Swapped Motherboards and is working wonderfully. Don't use the P5E3 Deluxe WiFi@N with the 4870X2 and 2 monitors--It will fry your MOBO. I switched to the Asus P6T with an i7 and this board plays nice with the 4870X2.
 
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